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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  September 1, 2013 6:00am-7:01am EDT

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cases is going to be dramatic cost reduction, dramatic deployment, deployment increases. this is -- this is wind. just since 2008, wind capacity has nearly tripled and was the fastest-growing source of electricity -- of capacity last year, 44% of new generating capacity in 2012 was wind. and as you can see, again, going back some time, dramatic reductions to where one is talking about levellized costs of about six cents per kilowatt hour. photovoltaics, p.v. modules. again, dramatic reduction. this is only since -- since 2008, deployment has increased by a factor of 10 and p.v. modules -- so they cost about 1% of what they did 35 years ago. but more important -- and we can argue whether this is a true cost or this is chinese costs or
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whatever. but it -- but the fact is, p.v. modules available for about 80 cents a watt. and a reminder, the long-standing holy grail has been about 50 cents a watt. i mean, this is tremendous progress. in fact, now it's the soft costs that we have to work on more to -- to get those down. and, again, you see the cost in deployment. i'll pause here just to say that a harbinger of what is coming is when energy incumbents start to seriously reexamine their business models in the face of what's happening. so many of you have seen today, for example, there are some, shall we call them, discussions going on between the solar industry and utilities, for example, in terms of how are --
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how are distributed p.v. systems paid for electricity back to the grid, how are things like distribution system costs shared, et cetera, et cetera. well, you know, it was only a few years ago when nobody cared. but the message is, in all of these -- and i have two more to go through -- you know, the future may not be always 10 years away. as i believe a lot of these technologies are beginning to establish their -- their -- their positions and certainly with policy actions on -- on the climate front will only be helped -- helped further. another -- another example, l.e.d. lights. the last five years, again, cost of superefficient l.e.d.'s fallen more than 85% and -- and sales, a big surprise, are taking off.
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the -- today we're up to aut 20 million fixtures. and there are many attractions to the l.e.d. of course, the problem is, let's say for your 60 watt incandescent light bulb equivalent, we're talking now about $20 for that fixture. 25,000 years of life. 25 times that of an incandescent bulb. so other than having this upfront capital cost, the economics are clear, especially with using only 20% of the power. in fact, the estimate is the lifetime savings of that one 60 watt incandescent bulb replaced by the equivalent l.e.d. over its 25,000-hour lifetime are well over the cost of one bulb. but you have to make the upfront
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investment. but that's coming. as an aside, i'll say there are -- this does not even count the hidden costs of what you may need to do to replace the bulb 25 times, particularly if you -- if you have a hotel, let's say, lights way up. the maintenance person, the ladders, et cetera, et cetera coming in, the osha violations, who knows, the -- so anyways, so, you know, there are also hidden -- hidden savings which can be very, very substantial. and finally, for electric vehicles and batteries, again, this shows a factor of two reduction in the batteries in just a relatively short time. that can go back to our -- to our tesla discussion where the costs are becoming much more affordable. but in -- but the real message is that if we come down another
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factor of four, we're getting into the range where -- where vehicle -- electric vehicles of significant range and much more mass appeal become possible. so, you know -- and this deployment, the green curve, just to give you a reference point, i mean, we may be talking about 100,000 electric vehicles this year, much more than was predicted only a short time ago, and this rate of increase in the early stages is substantially greater than that we saw for hybrid vehicles. these are inherently simpler vehicles, high performance, et cetera. so that's just kind of a sampling of these kind of four different technology areas where i think there still is often a persistent idea that these are somehow decades away. well, i think a lot of energy incumbents are beginning to think in a -- in a different
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way. i'm getting -- how am i doing on time? [laughter] i probably should -- okay. i'm going to switch to then a last -- a last topic and that's going back now to how i started when i discussed sandy and climate -- climate preparedness. again, the president's climate action plan basically reflected a major i would call step change in recognizing adaptation as one of the highest policy goals while favoring mitigation but recognizing that we cannot turn away from -- from adaptation. we are now bringing a suite of technologies and policies to meet this challenge. this morning i was in new jersey in see caucus signing an m.o.u. with governor christy and the new jersey transit corporation. what this is, is i think a perfect model of rebuilding in
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ways that are going to be resilient to the future. the project which will be designed by our sandia national laboratory -- i should say sandia has already designed 25 micro grids for military installations, but now this will be adapting their tools to a civilian environment, a critical infrastructure environment -- basically the transit in the. >> anish: corridoin the. >> anishin northeast corridor. we're talk about distributed generation assets in the micro grid clearly exceeding 50 megawatts. and the idea is, again, that this will take a -- a key part of the infrastructure, including, by the way, for manhattan. that is a -- an important evacuation corridor for manhattan if there's a major -- a major problem.
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it will address resilience. it will address economic benefits by providing what is, in effect, a smart grid. so these are the -- this is the way that we are also and the president put forward for us to be thinking about this resilience. it's not just about building sea walls, as important as that may be, or about elevating -- elevating structures close to the -- close to the -- close to the sea, but it's also about building smart as we readdress the infrastructure and use this as perhaps an opportunity to develop the 21st century -- 21st century infrastructure. the -- in fact, the -- i should say here in new york, my understanding is the sea level in new york harbor is about a foot higher than it was a century ago and so we begin to understand the sensitivity to all of these -- all of these climate -- climate actions and
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we applaud new york for a number of the steps its taken including, by the way, establishing a green bank for -- for efficiency and clean energy technologies. i would just add that we are also going to focus at d.o.e. in these coming years at much more work with the states because we believe this is a -- this is a critical, critical area for testing things out, for drawing upon the creativity that states and cities have been showing in terms of -- in terms of energy and climate policy. so finally, i'll just add that when it comes to emergency response and this -- and this adaptation part of the -- the agenda, the department of energy, speaking now for our own responsibilities, is -- is head of what's called emergency support function 12 under the
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umbrella of fema basically as the lead department for addressing energy infrastructure issues. we already operate the northeast heating oil reserve. we operate the strategic petroleum reserve. on our nuclear weapons activity that david alluded to, we've had long-standing operational emergency response for nuclear incidents, for controlling nuclear weapons materials globally. but this is a new step-out for us in terms of a major operational requirement in the civilian sector, if you like, working -- working with all of our energy -- energy -- energy companies. and i -- and to do -- and partly to do this, we have in the department of energy have had a reorganization looking at how our under secretaries are deployed, basically assigning one of our three under secretaries to focus on management and performance so all of these operational questions we are -- we are
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looking to -- to upgrade our focus on -- on that. i should add that in terms of the grid and -- and resilience, of course, extreme weather is -- is one issue, but in addition, things like cyber security are an increasing threat, one to which we are also devoting much, much more attention. i think given the time, i'm going to pretty much end there. the -- i'd be happy to take questions on the yea quad repubn yell energquadrennialenergy rev. but the message is one i hope clear. one, our program in energy, the department of energy, is clearly directed by the president's climate action plan. that is our focus. to do so, we will upgrade our
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efficiency work. we will continue to drive -- to help drive down the costs of low-carbon alternatives across the board, all of the above, as we support also the work of other agencies like the e.p.a. in addressing climate. but at the same time, as the president said, we have to acknowledge that we are seeing and will see more, frankly, of the impacts of climate and so we must also look at how we develop our energy infrastructure for that future, an infrastructure that serves our economic goals but also provides robustness and resilience against extreme weather events. and with that, i thank you for your attention and would be happy to take some questions. [applause] >> i have a question.
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-- >> we're going to come to that but maybe we can do it in the right order. >> i want to make sure you do. >> about half the cards we just collected were on that question so we will come to it. >> thank you. with all due respect, doctor, thank you. >> so we have about just under about 20 to 25 minutes for questions with the secretary. we've been collecting -- we've been collecting cards. about half of them were related to hydraulic fracturing and fugitive meth age. thimethane. this is new york. if you want to start with that one, let's start with that one. there's a lot of concern here and around the country, also in new york, about shale gas development. what's your view of the role that natural gas plays in a low carbon economy, how shale gas can be developed and what actions the u.s. government is taking to help get there? >> okay. well, first of all, it is a fact that in these last years, the
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natural gas regula revolution, e say, has been a major contributor to reducing emissions. the president has a goal, as i mentioned, of 17% by 2020. we are about halfway there, and about half of that is because of the substitution of natural gas for coal in the power sector, essentially driven by the -- by market forces. the -- in my previous life at m.i.t. when we did a study on natural gas, the -- if you asked the question upfront "is natural gas part of the problem or part of the solution for climate change" we reached the conclusion, yes. [laughter] that is -- that is, certainly in the near term and for -- potentially for some years out,
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this substitution of natural gas for coal combustion without carbon capture would be a major contributor to reducing carbon emissions. but in the longer term, assuming we are cranking down hard on carbon emissions, then eventually gas itself would have to have carbon capture or it would be too carbon intensive. so it's really -- that is the classic definition of the bridge to -- to the future and we need to work on those technologies. now, next question is, there's been a lot of controversy around methane emissions, and first of all, the -- again, actually in the president's climate action plan, there was specifically a call-out for addressing what you might call the non-co2 greenhouse gases, hydrofloor carbons, for example, where we are working. in fact, we have an agreement
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with china to work on that. and then methane. and on methane, we currently have an interagency group formed at the president's direction headed by the e.p.a., including the department of energy, department of interior and department of agriculture, for example, to -- to look at methane emissions. we are in very close contact with the environmental defense fund who, of course, has had a major study of their own on methane -- on methane emissions. the -- so we will see what comes out of that. >> we're going to remove people from the room if they just shout out. okay? >> the data currently look as though they -- the -- they are more on the low side of the estimates of methane emissions. [inaudible] >> would you please let the secretary answer your question. >> he's talking about something
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else than what i'm talking about. [inaudible] he says it's worse than coal. >> the question has already been asked and the secretary is answering the question so let him answer the question. >> the current data suggests that that is an incorrect statement but we will be exploring it. and, secondly, we will expand the study from the narrow focus around emissions at the well to emissions end to end, including in the transportation -- transportation infrastructure. the other thing is, in addition, in terms of methane production at the well, of course, there are technologies that are increasingly being used to capture the methane. and, in fact, as an aside, i mean, those can also be used beneficially in the environmental context in the sense that, for example, it's a lot better to use natural gas engines to drive the tracking fg
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fluids than it is to use diesel engines with low air quality issues. so that's a second point. and there was a third point. i'm trying to remember what it was now. [inaudible] >> anyway, i've forgotten. that's where we are. and again, there's no -- there's no issue in terms of co2 emissions at least that natural gas has. oh, i know what the third one was. and then comes the issues of the safe -- safety in terms of fracking itself, and there again, each of the issues to be addressed i would argue has clear solutions but they're being -- but the technologies -- the issues being manageable i've always said is not the same as
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being managed. we have to have consistent application of best standards through regulatory and other -- and other -- other approaches. so i think that's the -- that's the overall program and that's what we're doing. >> let me just broaden the question because there are questions about natural gas and fracking, a lot of them on these cards and the future of methane, there are also some more broadly about fossil fuels, about the all-of-the-above strategy and the questions are sort of along the line of why all of the above, why not focus? so you spoke passionately the need to tackle with urgency the climate change problem. the administration has welcomed the dramatic increase in oil and gas through new unconventional technologies here in -- in this country. i think some people view those things as having some tension between them or being hard to reconcile, and so perhaps you could talk a little bit about how you think the public should understand how those things fit together, how they're
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consistent, what's the right way to think about being serious about climate and about the fact that the u.s. has the potential to significantly increase its oil and gas production? >> certainly. the -- first of all, let's start with, again, the ground truth. 80% of our energy today is -- is fossil derived. the transportation sector is still today -- i mean, okay, within a couple of -- well, within 10%, 10% ethanol. but largely it is dependent upon oil as the -- as the transportation fuel. now, i talked here about hopefully going to a future where we see a lot more electric vehicles using low carbon electricity going forward, but the reality is, in the energy
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business, it's extremely hard to see very, very rapid changes in the -- in the deployment. so we have to -- our view is that we have to be practical, pragmatic, totally committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, doing so as -- and accelerating that to the extent that we can within the -- the current realities. now, let me go to your specific questions about gas and oil. first of all, i would say there have been different questions. on the oil side, our production has gone up substantially. in fact, in the last five years, the added capacity in global oil production -- i mean, the united states has been by far the biggest contributor, in fact, bigger than the next three combined. and that's come mainly from the -- from the unconventional type
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oil. now, here, what we're doing -- what we're seeing here is a substitution for imports. this has significant economic benefits. it's -- it's not changing the carbon balance specifically but it is certainly reducing our -- our balance of payments substantially. it wasn't long ago we were spending a billion dollars a day on -- on imported oil. that's now at its lowest level in many, many years and our production is at the highest level in many, many years. the -- but in the spirit of what i said how i defined "all of the above," but we are working assiduously in multiple dimensions to reduce oil dependence. the president pushed the unprecedented cafe standards, a doubling of fuel efficiency by 2025 and that's already having
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-- having an effect. we are working on next-generation biofuels, and we are working on, as one saw, the -- especially the battery technology that is key to electric vehicle penetration but beyond that, other things for lightweighting vehicles, et cetera, new materials, which, by the way, was part of the tesla safety success as well, i might add. so we are producing more oil, we are reducing imports and we are working to -- to reduce oil dependence at the same time. on natural gas, it's a little bit different. in fact, maybe i should have said, if you look at the -- the cost of removing the marginal ton of co2, you know, it's -- in broad terms, it's probably lowest for efficiency, next for electricity and it's highest for transportation. so that's the one that's going to be a little bit harder, frankly, in terms of getting this -- this -- this transition. now, natural gas serves three
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major sectors of the united states almost equally: heating, electricity and -- and industrial -- industrial applications. the -- on the electricity is where we are seeing the large growth because of the low prices, and, again, this has been beneficial for -- for our carbon equation. it's why we are the lead industrialized economy that is actually reducing carbon emissions. but going forward, again, we're not just sitting on our -- on this. we are pushing solar hard, wind. we are just now going to go into our first support for offshore wind, for example, a place where cost reduction is required. nuclear, provisional loan guarantee to see if new nuclear power plants built in the united
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states come in on budget and are -- and are -- and are reasonable, even as gas takes a more prominent place in -- in the mix. so that's our philosophy. the philosophy is we've got to keep pushing down on carbon, we have to be pragmatic and we have to keep working on those alternatives that will support a very low carbon economy in the future. >> i'm going to take the questions roughly in the order of preponderance so they sort of stack up. shale gas development and the future of methane was the largest stick. >> that was two kilograms worth there. >> the next largest is on the export of natural gas. i suspect you may not be very specific in answering this question but one -- the questions are along the line of how much and when and how many days until the next permit. so assuming you may not answer that question, maybe more broadly, the truth -- i'll say the two recent orders, freeport
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and lake charles approving natural gas, were quite forceful in explaining why the department thought approving exports of natural gas information the public interest. they talked about the need to look at cumulative impacts and changing market conditions. i don't know if hypothetically speaking you can talk about the kinds of things you'll be monitoring and looking at, what sort of scenario in the future might lead one to a different conclusion about whether this is in the public interest? >> it's an excellent question. >> [laughter] >> next. [laughter] >> okay. >> no, no. the -- look, i think just first of all for the audience who may not be quite as familiar, the department of energy is called upon to -- to license applications for the export of natural gas to non-free trade agreement countries. for countries with a free trade agreement, it's essentially automatic unless there was some glaring issue to make it not -- not in the public interest. that's sort of like mexico in
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the sense of nafta, for example. south korea is a gas user and a free trade agreement country. but most of the market for natural gas are countries that do not have free trade agreements with the united states, that includes europe, includes japan, includes india. so we have to judge on those. so, as jason implied, the department has issued now three licenses. one of them is final. and i should caution, or just note, i mean, as a statement of fact, that the last two that were just issued in the last few months are provisional licenses. they still need to go through the nepa process, for example, which is run out of ferc. so environmental review is still needed to come back for a final license. in the first case -- the first license granted, i think about a year inbetween the provisional and the -- and the final licen license. and even then that project is
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still not exporting. it's still i think a couple of years away from -- from exports, because these are large capital investments, you know, i mean, billion-dollar scale, and one has to arrange customers and suppliers to -- to make the project go. so going forward, what we have said is -- and this was established certainly before i was secretary, that the -- we evaluate the -- the applications case by case. roughly speaking in the order submitted. there's a published order so everybody knows where they are in the queue and we just -- we're working through the next one. there's no secret, the next one is cove point. you can go on our web site and in -- in maryland, the only one on the east coast, and we're now evaluating that application. as you say, it's a public interest criteria so environmental issues clearly come in. as i said, that's the second -- second stage. impact on the economy, the
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market conditions are an issue, so we will monitor that. and as you say, it is published that the department will be looking at market conditions in the context of cumulative -- cumulative commitments to -- to export. so those are the ground rules. i've just kind of repeated what you've said but i -- but i will note an obvious issue, that granting a license isn't the same as having the gas exported. and so that's going to be something that we're going to have to face at some point down the road in terms of how we -- how we evaluate those probabilities together in terms of what it might do with market impact. >> we have about ten more minutes so i'm going to move quickly through as many of these as i can. there are several questions here about nuclear energy. you know a little bit about that. what do you think should be done to handle the indian point nuclear plant and then more
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broadly, what's stopping us from establishing more sources of nuclear power? >> well, i'm not going to comment on the indian point plant specifically. i mean, the -- first of all, i must say, i probably don't know enough about the specifics of the indian point plant. the -- but if i take the bigger -- the bigger picture, there are several issues. one is, as i already alluded to, the department did issue a provisional $8 billion loan guarantee for the construction of the first two new nuclear power plants in -- in georgia. there are two additional ones in south carolina. so there are four next -- kind of next half generation, i would say, nuclear plants being built. they have some new safety features, et cetera. i think "the" big question with
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those plants is going to be, do they get built on budget and, you know, more or less on budget and schedule. if they do, then i think there will probably be a re-look in some places for new nuclear power plants. if they have very bad budget performance, as did some recently in europe, i think it will seriously cloud any future for such gigawatt scale plants. i don't want to imply there's an issue now. the latest reports from both georgia and south carolina are encouraging but they're still in the early stages of the -- of the projects. the second issue, of course, is post-fukeshema, and there are clearly a number of steps the n.r.c. will be take for licensees and licenses.
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and, you know, they -- clearly there will be probably some increase in operating costs in responding to -- to new regulations, for example, maybe a requirement for periodic seismic review as opposed to just a one-time seismic review, various other issues, how spent fuel is stored. you know, we still don't know the full extent of what will be required but that will do some at least marginal increase of operating costs which can have -- can have an impact. but the third thing -- the third and fourth things. the third thing i would say is clearly the nuclear waste back end remains an issue. i was a member of the blue-ribbon commission on america's nuclear future prior to my becoming secretary and i and the administration position and the proposed senate bill are also aligned, that we think the blue-ribbon commission core recommendations need to be followed, and those two are
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principally a consent-based process for nuclear storage facilities and, b, a dual track of consolidated dry cask storage, presumably under federal control, which eliminates our liability that we are paying utilities. and -- and -- and secondly, the geological disposal track. the fourth nuclear point i would make is that there is some promise -- i emphasize it's only promise at this stage -- about kind of a new generation of reactors called small modular reactors. so these will be much smaller units, maybe 200 megawatts, maybe even smaller. and if these are economical, they have very -- they generally have very attractive safety features and they could be an important part of -- of a nuclear future. but we won't know until we build some. department of energy has provided some assistance to move
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one and soon a second and possibly a third to licensing. and the target date would be a first modular reactor operating in 2022. >> great. there are a couple of questions about foreign policy and international energy, particularly about what the change in the north american energy landscape means for america's place in the world. the question -- one of the questions says, "in the past, the u.s. has conducted a kind of defensive energy policy, blocking and tackling with countries like russia, protecting interests in the mideast, but given the revolution in shale oil and gas, there's an opportunity to be more offensive." can you talk about the strategic priorities of the changing picture in the u.s., what the priorities are. you've announced a reorganization, what -- what -- how the work will be managed moving forward, international energy policy will be managed? >> well, first of all, in terms of the current situation with
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regard to the increasing gas and oil, the -- first of all, the substantial increase in natural gas production in the united states has already had, i would say, kind of a geopolitical consequence, even though we haven't exported anything. basically because all the l.n.g. that was supposed to be imported, went elsewhere, like to europe, for example. so now in the future -- and i would say here, i would go beyond the united states. and it's a big unknown how much and when. but certainly if the world's unconventional gas resources are developed aggressively, you know, nominally, resource in place in china is bigger than the united states -- than the united states for shale. argentina has got some very attractive looking reservoirs.
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eastern europe. now, a lot of this was very enthusiastic a few years ago. a few below-ground realities and above-ground realities have taken a little bit of the bloom off the rose in -- in some places. but again, there is a potential for dram dramatically shifting e flows of natural gas globally and that will play out over the next decade, i would say. with regard to oil, i think the -- again, the united states becoming a large -- a much more significant producer is certainly -- certainly plays in here but i do remind you, i think sometimes, especially on the oil side, the subject of big political shifts just because of that tend perhaps to be overplayed. i would note, for example, that, you know, we get very little of
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our imported oil from the middle east. that doesn't change our security posture in that -- in that part of the world. i mean, that's just a fact, right? and there are many reasons. one is we have many more security -- many more security equities than just oil. but, secondly, the united states has unique national security and foreign policy responsibilities in -- in the global quarter, and -- and to the extent to which our key allies are subject to strong energy security problems, that inevitably influences our freedom of action in national security and foreign affairs. so i think it's a much more complicated story.
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but if -- bottom line, if unconventional resources are developed strongly around the world over the next decade, there is no doubt global markets will change, shifts will be different, infrastructure requirements will be different, and -- and we'll see how that plays out. >> let me quickly throw one last one in. there are several questions here about how the administration thinks about incorporating renewables into the u.s. grid, the outlook for grid-tied energy storage applications. can you talk a little bit about the steps the department's taking to make the grid capable of taking more renewables along with the policies to drive that? >> several things. first of all, we are looking hard at -- in fact, we're right now again refreshing a road map in terms of utility scale storage technologies, which obviously could have an enormous impact. right now in terms of the grid itself, a number of things -- a number of activities. i'll mention one, for example. the -- using -- actually mainly
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using recovery funds, the department has supported the deployment of a substantial number of what are called phasers in the transmission grid so essentially making detailed phase measurements. and this is a -- seeing issues there. again, collecting the data, of course, and analyzing the data can be a way of getting a very, very strong signal about impending problems and -- and giving one the opportunity to -- to address them. so that's just one example of a lot of what i would call smart technology that we are trying to help to deploy. actually, an example i already mentioned in my remarks, was today's -- this morning's event with governor christie in terms of actually trying to move towards building, i mean, a physical micro grid of nontrivial scale there. it will, by the way, include,
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assuming the project goes forward to full -- to full construction, it will include a lot of integration of renewables in that micro grid as well. now, i think the -- the -- there's a much bigger story in terms of especially remote, large-scale renewables, wind and solar, and there -- there it's a big infrastructure issue. there i will just advertise the last part of the talk that i did not give. we are -- we are starting -- again, it's in the president's climate action plan -- something called a quadrennial energy review. the department of energy will be the executive secretariat for an effort that will span the entire administration. its focus will be on infrastructure, how do we evolve a 21st century infrastructure -- electricity, gas, you name it -- and one that is integrated, that has got resilience to natural events, cyber secure and
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can integrate large-scale renewables and large-scale distributed generation into the transmission and distribution systems. >> great. [inaudible] >> he's -- we're out of time. [ [inaudible]>> you said that a part of the talk that you didn't give and there are enough cards here to be able to talk for another hour. so hopefully you'll come back and spend more time with us again. and as you can see, there's a lot of interest, a lot of passion on these issues and we appreciate your taking some time to talk with us today about the truly important issues that are at stake for the u.s. energy outlook. i want everyone to please join me in thanking the energy secretary for being here today. [applause] >> as i said, we have many more events coming up this fall. follow us on the web site and twitter. please, remain seated until the
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energy secretary has left the room, for about 20 more seconds, and -- and then -- and then we can all exit together. thank you again for coming today. >> in a few moments, president obama's remarks yesterday on the situation in syria. after that, "washington journal," live with your phone calls and reaction to the president's remarks. and at 10:00 a.m. -- the left's philosophy is based almost solely and completelily at this point on the idea that they stand up for victimized groups. everything they do is to stand up on behalf of some victimized minority. blacks, jews, gays, women. it doesn't matter, if they're a
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minority, they're standing up for you. what that means, if we oppose their policy, by necessity, the logic is we hate blacks, jews, gays and women. and that's sort of the philosophy we trot out. >> the editor-at-large, ben shapiro, is today's guest and will take calls and comments for three hours live starting at 1 12:00 noon eastern. >> when we picture june cleaver,
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that image does obscure one of the most important trends for women in the 1950's when is america women's labor force participation increased in the 1950's. american women workers not only did not go home after world war ii but they increasingly entered the labor market across the 1950's, a decade that we so powerfully associated with women's domecicity. >> a history of women in the workplace in the years following world war ii, later today at 1:00 p.m. eastern, just part of the three days of american history tv this labor day weekend on c-span3. >> this was the scene outside the white house yesterday with protests taking place between those supporting and those opposing u.s. intervention in syria. the protests came while president obama delivered remarks from the white house rose garden, where he said any form of military action against syria would have to come with the approval of congress.
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here are some of the protests, followed by the president's remarks. [inaudible] >> do we want more justification for bombing syria? [inaudible] >> does he have the right to carry out military action? two, he will carry out military action. three, he doesn't need the united nations to go forward. and fourth, and this is very important so i want you to really hear it, that even though
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he has the authority to carry out, he's going to wait for congress, for a congressional debate, getting authorization from congress before he conducts a military attack. now -- now -- now, what does that mean? congress is in -- congress is not in session. there can't be a congressional debate. >> good afternoon, everybody. ten days ago, the world watched in horror as men, women and children were massacred in syria in the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century. yesterday the united states presented a powerful case that the syrian government was
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responsible for this attack on its own people. our intelligence shows the assad regime and its forces preparing to use chemical weapons, launching rockets in the highly populated suburbs of damascus, and acknowledging that a chemical weapons attack took place. and all of this corroborates what the world can plainly see -- hospitals overflowing with victims, terrible images of the dead. all told, well over 1,000 people were murdered. several hundred of them were children. young girls and boys gassed to death by their own government. this attack is an assault on human dignity. it also presents a serious danger to our national security. it risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons. it endangers our friends and our
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partners along syria's borders, including israel, jordan, turkey, lebanon, and iraq. it could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm. in a world with many dangers, this menace must be confronted. now, after careful deliberation, i have decided that the united states should take military action against syrian regime targets. this would not be an open-ended intervention. we would not put boots on the ground. instead, our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope. but i'm confident we can hold the assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons, deter this kind of behavior, and degrade their capacity to carry it out. our military has positioned assets in the region. the chairman of the joint chiefs has informed me that we are
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prepared to strike whenever we choose. moreover, the chairman has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time sensitive. it will be effective tomorrow or next week or one month from now. and i'm prepared to give that order. but having made my decision as commander in chief, based on what i am convinced is our national security interests, i'm also mindful that i'm the president of the world's oldest constitutional democracy. i've long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. that's why i've made a second decision. i will seek authorization for the use of force from the american people's representatives in congress. over the last several days, we've heard from members of congress who want their voices
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to be heard. i absolutely agree. so this morning, i spoke with all four congressional leaders and they've agreed to schedule a debate and then a vote as soon as congress comes back into session. in the coming days, my administration stands ready to provide every member with the information they need to understand what happened in syria and why it has such profound implications for america's national security. and all of us should be accountable as we move forward and that can only be accomplished with a vote. i'm confident in the case our government has made without waiting for u.n. inspectors. i'm comfortable going forward without the approval of a united nations security council that so far has been completely paralyzed and unwilling to hold assad accountable. as a consequence, many people have advised against taking this decision to congress, and
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undoubtedly they were impacted by what we saw happen in the united kingdom this week when the parliament of our closest ally failed to pass a resolution with a similar goal, even as the prime minister supported taking action. yet while i believe i have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, i know that the country will be stronger if we take this course and our actions will be even more effective. we should have this debate because the issues are too big for business as usual. and this morning, john boehner, harry reid, nancy pelosi and mitch mcconnell agreed that this is the right thing to do for our democracy. a country faces few decisions as grave as using military force, even when that force is limited. i respect the views of those who call for caution, particularly as our country emerges from a time of war that i was elected in part to end. but if we really do want to turn
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away from taking appropriate action in the face of such an unspeakable outrage, then we must acknowledge the costs of doing nothing. here's my question for every member of congress and every member of the global community -- what message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price? what's the purpose of the international system that we built if a prohibition on the use of chemical weapons, that has been agreed to by the government of 98% of the world's people and approved overwhelmingly by the congress of the united states, is not enforced? make no mistake, this has implications beyond chemical warfare. if we won't enforce accountability in the face of this heinous act, what does it say about our resolve to stand up to others who flout fundamental international rules, to governments who would choose
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to build nuclear arms? to terrorists who would spread biological weapons? to armies who carry out genocide? we cannot raise our children in a world where we will not follow through on the things we say, the accords we sign, the values that define us. so just as i will take this case to congress, i will also deliver this message to the world. while the u.n. investigation has some time to report on its findings, we will insist that an atrocity committed with chemical weapons is not simply investigated, it must be confronted. i don't expect every nation to agree with the decision we have made. privately, we've heard many expressions of support from our friends, but i will ask those who care about the writ of the international community to stand publicly behind our action. and finally, rhett me say this o the american people. i know well that we are weary of
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war. we've ended one war in iraq. we're ending another in afghanistan. the american people have the good sense to know we cannot resolve the underlying conflict in syria with our military. in that part of the world, there are ancient sectarian differences and the hopes of the arab spring have unleashed forces of change that are going to take many years to resolve. that's why we're not contemplating putting our troops in the middle of someone else's war. instead, we'll continue to support the syrian people through our pressure on the assad regime, our commitment to the opposition, our care for the displaced, and our pursuit of a political resolution that achieves a government that respects the dignity of its people. but we are the united states of america. we cannot and must not turn a blind eye to what happened in damascus. out of the ashes of world war, we built an international order and enforced the rules that gave it meaning, and we did so
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because we believe that the rights of individuals to live in peace and dignity depends on the responsibilities of nations. wwe aren't perfect but this nation more than any other has been willing to meet those responsibilities. so to all members of congress of both parties, i ask you to take this vote for our national security. i am looking forward to the debate. in doing so, i ask you, members of congress, to consider that some things are more important than partisan differences or the politics of the moment. ultimately, this is not about who occupies this office at any given time. it's about who we are as a country. i believe that the people's representatives must be invested in what america does abroad. and now is the time to show the world that america keeps our commitments. we do what we say, and we lead with the belief that right makes might. not the other way around.
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we all know there are no easy options but i wasn't elected to avoid hard decisions and neither were the members of the house and the senate. i've told you what i believe, that our security and our values demand that we cannot turn away from the massacre of countless civilians with chemical weapons. and our democracy is stronger when the president and the people's representatives stand together. i'm ready to act in the face of this outrage. today i'm asking congress to send a message to the world, that we are ready to move forward together as one nation. thanks very much. >> will you forego -- [inaudible] >> house republican leaders
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released the following statement after the president's remarks. that combing from the house republican leadership. you can see the house debate live on c-span and senate coverage on c-span 2. coming up today on c-span --
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>> one of the most fun times i had, it was 2006 and it really looked like the democrats were going to take back the house and it was looking pretty bad for republicans. and vice president cheney's office called and wanted to know if rothenberg and i could come over and have breakfast with him. so we went over to the vice president's residence and had breakfast with him. i had met him before but i didn't know him. first of all, it was unbelievable how much he knew about individual -- i mean, he had been to so many of these districts over the years as one of the republican leaders of the house and this and that. but basically he was sort of asking us how bad is this? and we were saying, yeah, it's
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-- it's pretty bad. but that's kind of fun when you get to do that or talk to the various caucuses on both sides and, you know, you kind of get a glimpse of the inside and the players. >> with more than 30 years as a political analyst, charlie cook has uncovered the trends while tracking every congressional race since 1984. see the rest of this "q & a" interview tonight at 8:00 on c-span. >> coming up next live on "washington journal," your reaction to president obama's remarks on syria, plus the day's latest news and headlines. then nick gillespie, editor and chief of talks about the libertarian viewpoint on a variety of issues, including possible u.s. intervention in syria and the n.s.a. data collection programs. after that, we'll hear from gordon adams, a foreign policy expert at american university school of specific services, about the latest events in
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syria. >> but, having made my decision as commander in chief based on what i am convinced is our national security interests, i'm also mindful that i'm the president of the world's oldest constitutional democracy. i've long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. and that's why i've made a second decision. i will seek authorization for the use of force from the american people's representatives in congress. ♪ host: good morning o


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